I have only brief notes from one session of the Modern Language Association Convention this year – the December 29 one on new media editing, chaired by Neil Fraistat of the University of Maryland, in which I presented “Toward Scholarly, Critical, and Variorum Editions of Computer Programs.” This was as tedious a paper title as one can imagine (sure to drive both computer enthusiasts and those in textual studies into slumber), but the other two speakers more than made us for this, presenting new interfaces to motion pictures (Stephen Mamber, UCLA) and a compelling take on how to approach video games via bibliography (Steven Jones, Loyola U. Chicago).
January 9, 2006
January 8, 2006
A Review of The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles
Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken
The Elements of Computing Systems has a remarkable assemblage of virtues: it’s a book that covers systems at basically every level, it’s appropriately minimal and lines out just enough to study in each one, it’s clearly written and well-illustrated, there is a nice supply of accompanying cross-platform software available for free online, and the exercises are fun to do. Besides being a nice book about computer systems, it also brings a nice perspective on how we can learn about different abstracted levels in computer science and then put these pieces of understanding together. Really, I’m embarrassed that I like an undergraduate computer science textbook this much.
As you know, GTxA isn’t exactly a personal blog, but there are times to make an exception. :-)
My daughter Eva Vu Stern was born January 4, 2006, at 8:07 p.m., 6 lbs 11 oz. Mom, Baby and Dad are at home now, happy and healthy.
If you see any blog posts from me timestamped at 4 a.m., you’ll know why!
January 6, 2006
A French artist has just attacked Duchamp’s Fountain with a hammer, slightly chipping the prize-winning urinal. He “claimed the hammer attack was a work of performance art.” The police have not released the man’s name, but press accounts note that in 1993 he relieved himself into what would later be voted the greatest piece of modern art, when it was on loan to a museum in Nimes. In fact, the person who did that hammered Fountain back then, too. Pierre Pinoncelli, j’accuse.
- Did Pinoncelli purchase his hammer at a store or create it himself? Which would have been better?
January 5, 2006
Seth Thompson of Wigged Productions recently completed Outside the Box: New Cinematic Experiences, a half-hour documentary featuring interviews with Cory Arcangel, Toni Dove, Lev Manovich, Jud Yalkut, and, curiously, one interactive but less cinematic guy, me. (These are links to the bios on the Wigged site.) The DVD is available on the site and is being shown on various stations worldwide, for instance, here in Philadelphia on DUTV, cable channel 54, on January 10th, February 7, and March 7 (Tuesdays) at 10:30pm; Jan 13, Feb 10, March 10 (Fridays) at 11:30pm; and the weekends afterwards at 6:30pm and 1:30am.
January 4, 2006
If there’s an essay on machinima you’ve been burning to write, now’s your opportunity. Henry Lowood and Michael Nitsche are editing The Machinima Reader, the first collection of essays to critically review the phenomenon of machinima from a variety of prespectives. 500 word abstracts should be sent as RTF files to Michael Nitsche (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Henry Lowood (email@example.com) by April 3, 2006. If your abstract is accepted, final essays should be 5000-7000 words and will be due July 2006. Here’s the full CFP:
Years ago, early in the morning, I encountered a man in the Oslo train station who gave me a CD containing what might have been the sounds of a lake of robot jellyfish attaining a prolonged ecstasy, or perhaps plotting the overthrow of an oppressive regime [mp3, 971kb].
January 3, 2006
Wait, before we say goodbye to 2005, let me quickly throw out a few extra links that shouldn’t be forgotten:
January 1, 2006
Happy 2006, all! In the interests of being future-looking, I’ll start off the new year by looking right on ahead to 2007. In the fall of next year the incredible-sounding opera Death and the Powers will go on, with music by Tod Machover (of the MIT Media Lab; The Brain Opera, Resurrection), libretto by Robert Pinsky (Mindwheel, The Figured Wheel, Jersey Rain, The Favorite Poem Project), robotics engineering by Cynthia Breazael (MIT Media Lab), and production design by Alex McDowell (Minority Report, Fight Club, The Crow) – see the page for full credits and a link to a seven-page PDF description. The production will feature incredible-looking sets, autonomous robots, and hyperinstrumental music. The main character is Simon Powers, an aged inventor whose attempt at a seemingly extropian transformation is at the heart of the piece.